These are the world’s most expensive cities to live in 2022

NEW YORK CITY– It seems like every month when the household bills come due, we rant about how the cost of living has gone back up.

But it’s not just anecdotal. According to this year’s Worldwide Cost of Living Index released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the average cost of living increased by 8.1% in 2022, due to the Russian war in Ukraine and the ongoing impact of the pandemic is.

In other words – no, it’s not just you.

“The war in Ukraine, Western sanctions against Russia and China’s zero-Covid policy have created supply chain issues that, along with rising interest rates and exchange rate shifts, have created a cost-of-living crisis around the world,” said Upasana Dutt, head of global cost-of-living at EIU in a media statement.

She added: “We can clearly see the impact in this year’s index, with the average price increase across the 172 cities in our survey being the sharpest we’ve seen in the 20 years for which we have digital data. The rise in gasoline prices in cities has been particularly sharp (like last year), but groceries, utilities and household goods are becoming increasingly expensive for city dwellers.”

So what are the most expensive cities to live in in an expensive year?

Europe in transition

The EIU, which tracks daily spending in 172 cities around the world, is based in London. The British capital fell significantly down the list this year, finishing in 27th place.

Four European cities made the top 10 – Zurich (sixth) was the best, with Paris, Copenhagen and the Swiss city of Geneva rounding out the rest.

The main reason for the price increase in Western Europe was the rising gas prices, which were the result of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine and the region’s search for alternative gas sources. The cost of a liter of petrol has increased by a whopping 22% compared to the same period last year.

Unsurprisingly, the Russian cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg both saw significant increases in the cost of living, while the Ukrainian capital of Kiev was not analyzed this year.

As well as the cost of petrol, EIU cited the unequal value of the euro, used by some but not all European cities on this year’s list – Britain relies on the pound and Switzerland has the franc.

Three other cities in Europe – Stockholm, Lyon and Luxembourg – also rejected the list.

A very first winner

While it seems like New York City should have topped the list by now, this is the first time the US’s largest city has landed first place – albeit tied with frequent winner Singapore.

In the 2021 tally, New York ranked sixth.

Two other major American cities also made the top 10 – Los Angeles at number four, Hong Kong and San Francisco at number eight.

Overall, 22 of the 172 cities that EIU tracks annually are in the United States, including Portland, Boston, Chicago, and Charlotte. Every single one of those 22 has experienced a spike in inflation this year.

Last year’s winner Tel Aviv fell back to third place.

How the list is created

To create the list, the EIU compares more than 400 individual prices for more than 200 products and services in 172 cities. They examine a range of companies, both high-end and low-end, to get a sense of how much price has fluctuated over the past year.

Another company, global mobility company ECA International, publishes its own ranking of the world’s most expensive cities every year. The ECA list uses a slightly different methodology, looking at everyday expenses like rent and the cost of public transport and not including luxury products in its calculations.

The list, released in June, gave Hong Kong the title of most expensive city for the third consecutive year, and New York second. However, the ECA’s list skews heavily towards the big cities in Asia, as Seoul, Shanghai and other East Asian metropolitan areas all made the top 10.

The EIU list is compared to New York City prices, so cities with currencies that are stronger against the US dollar are likely to appear higher in the rankings.

The 10 most expensive cities in the world in 2022

1. New York and Singapore (tie)

3. Tel Aviv, Israel

4. Hong Kong and Los Angeles (tie)

6. Zurich, Switzerland

7. Geneva, Switzerland

8. San Francisco, California

9. Paris, France

10. Copenhagen, Denmark

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